The weather here in Argentina is heating up again! It was around 105 degrees farenheit for most of the weekend. When the weather gets that hot, it’s debilitating. All we want to do is nap–but with one day off a week, we want to take advantage of it!
We spent Saturday night enjoying a traditional Argentinian parrilla, or barbeque. There is a nifty-looking wood carved parrilla right down the street from the hotel. We had tried to grab lunch there a few weeks ago–but one does not merely stop by a parrilla for lunch. A parrilla is an experience. So, we decided to try again later with some trusty Spanish-speaking coworkers to get the full experience.
The barbequed meat itself is called asado. The meats can include beef, chicken, lamb, and fish, among others. You start with drinks–gaseosas (sodas), agua sin gas o agua con gas (still or sparkling water), cerveza (beer), or vino (wine). We bought a few beers for the table. The beers here are rarely served in single portions. You buy a large bottle (similar to a 40 in the states), and share it around the table. Since it’s hot as all get out here, they come in foam insulators that work really well at keeping them cool during the hot Argentinian day.
Then, you move onto the picados, which are essentially appetizers. In our case, we had yacare empanadas. The yacare, or jacare depending on who is spelling it for you, is a crocodile that lives down here in the marshlands. They are semi-protected–you can’t hunt them, but there are places that raise them, send a percentage back into the wild, and use the rest for food. The empanadas are actually delicious–they taste like a much juicier chicken. We also ordered some ensaladas mixtas (mixed salads) for the table.
Yacare empanada–T grabbed a pic before the last one got eaten
The grill is really neat–in a corner of the restaurant, surrounded by windows where you can watch the meat being cooked, is the HUGE grill. T was obviously impressed by this (all photos of the grill are courtesy of him). I thought the antique cash register was really awesome.
Antique cash register
The grill–with round one of the meat cooking
Finally, we got to the main event–asados. We had lots of choices–lots of ribs (lamb, beef, pork), pork chops, lamb chops, grilled chicken. And then, the very nice owner came out with the exciting portions… He clearly noticed the americanos at the table and were interested in showing us some of the more interesting fare. We ended up with intestines of several animals, stomach, and some other unidentified portions of animals. After a bad experience with pickled beef intestine last month… we were less than enthusiastic, but tried to try everything. I just can’t do the rubbery texture of those cuts.
Just one plate of many
In all, our dinner cost about $80 for four people, and lasted around 4 hours.
After that, T admitted defeat and went to bed, while I went to an Argentinian rock concert that a coworker had helped to organize. Rock–at least, original rock–doesn’t appear to have many fans in this highly traditional area. One of my coworkers mentioned that there had been a cumbia y machata concert there the week before that was packed–incredibly traditional Argentinian music that encourages dancing.
The bands were not bad at all, but the concert was sparsely attended. It was interesting that out of the two bands we saw, one sang entirely in English. Judging by the inability of most people to understand what we say in English (or some hybrid form of Spanglish) here, I’m not sure how much they were understanding the lyrics they were screaming. But a good cultural experience nevertheless!
A side note: we’ve been having internet connectivity issues in the hotel, and work blocks most social media sites. So, no posts on Facebook for a while, I guess! Once we get into the house, we won’t have internet at all, and we’ll see how long it takes to get it up and running.